A Reflection on “We Live In Public”

Going into this only seeing the trailer for the documentary prior, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into. But boy, I was not ready for the roller coaster that awaited me in the hour and a half long video.

Josh Harris in Quiet, the underground bunker where We Live In Public took place.

Firstly, I was amazed at how accurately Josh Harris was able to predict the future from the beginnings of the internet as it was first born. He was always ahead of the game, trying to push out things first and harness the things that he thought would be popular. Generally, he was overwhelmingly correct with the short term predictions and was able to make a large amount of money over a short amount of time.

I really liked this way of harnessing the new technology, but I feel as though he was so absorbed in technology and what he wanted to do with it that he was actually extremely disconnected with the outside world and reality. He came off as cold-hearted and distant in the interviews he had, and it was mentioned that he had a hard time getting close to people and having more intimate relationships. I feel like this made it harder to relate too, and made it more difficult for him to truly connect with others. On the other hand, it allowed him to make choices without a direct emotional bias since he seemed to lack the emotions necessary to do so.

The experiment he performed with Quiet, the underground bunker with over 100 inhabitants, really blew my mind. The fact that these people had cameras on them all the time would’ve drove me insane if I were inside, being fond of my privacy. Every second of these peoples’ lives were recorded and kept documented, and they had undergone mental exams and asked so many personal and intrusive questions to the point where after their month in the bunker, they were breaking. These participants fully gave up all of their rights to live for free in this experiment. They were always watching each other and knew everything that was going on in each person’s life.

Going from that, we can all directly relate it to how we live now. We are all constantly on social media, bragging about the things we did while simultaneously letting our friends know about every single thing we did that day, whether it be via pictures, videos, or text. What Josh had stated — that we would become the ones being seen constantly, and addicted to sharing what we are doing — has become so very true over the years and it continues to become even MORE true. We can stream live videos at any point of the day easily from our phones. We are always sharing. We are living in public.